Protein Requirement Calculator
Use this calculator to estimate the daily protein requirement that is recommended depending on your weight and physical state.
How to calculate your daily protein requirement?
This protein requirement calculator estimates your daily protein requirement based on your weight. Using it you can estimate a generally appropriate protein intake in ounces or grams per day. Proteins are an essential part of a healthy diet, regardless if you are trying to gain muscle, lose weight or just maintain a healthy living.
To calculate your protein needs just enter your weight and health condition. Certain conditions require more than the average daily intake, such as fevers and infections, or intensive training (athletes, bodybuilders, weight-lifters) - more on this below. The protein requirement calculator will then display the mass (in ounces or grams) of proteins you need to eat per day. Simple as that.
What is a protein?
Proteins are one three main sources of energy supply for the human body (macronutrients): carbohydrates, proteins and fats (lipids). All three are essential for maintaining your body in a healthy condition, however different dietary goals and health conditions may result in different protein requirements. Our protein requirement calculator allows you to easily estimate how many grams or ounces of proteins you need per day to maintain your body. The result is always a range, based on clinical research and consensus among nutritionists and physicians.
Most of the proteins in your body are a part of your muscles mass, with a typical adult containing 10-12 kg (22 - 26.5 lb) of proteins. That is the energy equivalent of 18,000 to 19,000 kCal, enough to last you a week with moderate physical activity. Protein is formed by amino acid building-block linkages of varying size and length. Even one of your cells may contain thousands of different proteins, with approximately 50,000 different protein-containing molecules with differing biochemical functions in your body as a whole.
Your body requires 20 types of amino acids, which are further divided into essential and non-essential. 8 of these 20 are essential amino acids which can only be ingested through food and are, in this sense, indispensable. The remaining 12 are non-essential amino acids that can be synthesized by your body in sufficient quantity. "Non-essential" does not mean unimportant, to the contrary - all 20 are crucial for the proper functioning of the body.
Unlike carbs and fats (lipids), proteins are not "stored" in reservoirs throughout the body (such as glycogen in muscle and fatty depos), instead they are present only as tissue building blocks. Tissue synthesis (anabolism) accounts for more than 30% of protein intake early on in life, but the percentage declines with age. Amino acids degrade continually through one's life so adequate intake is required to ensure replacement of degraded acids. Another reason to use a protein requirement calculator is to estimate the proteins you need per day in order to sustain and build up your muscle mass.
Proteins in different foods
Dietary sources of complete proteins are mainly eggs, milk, meat, fish, and poultry. Eggs deserve a special mention for providing the optimal mixture of essential amino acids, having a protein rating of 100 out of 100. Below you can see a chart with the protein ratings of other common foods:
Both animals and plants produce proteins containing essential amino acids, but whereas animal sources usually provide a complete amino acids mix while individual vegetables usually offer a limited set, therefore food variety is more important for vegetarians or people with high percentage of plant foods in their diet. If you are consuming the same amino acid, it doesn't make a difference if it is derived from an animal or plant source. Reliance on animal foods for protein often results in higher intake of cholesterol and fatty acids, so it should be considered when planning a food regime.
Despite being key factor for muscle building, just eating a lot of protein will not automatically result in muscle growth, so don't choose a diet with a very high protein percentage thinking that you will become mister Olympia. Proteins that are not immediately needed for energy or cell building will be transformed or discarded. Consuming too much proteins is not without negative effects as it can put a strain on your liver and kidneys. So, exceeding the amounts recommended by our protein calculator may have adverse health effects.
How much protein do I need? Optimal daily protein intake
The recommended daily protein intake for normal, healthy people is 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight for adolecents and 0.8 grams per kg of body weight for adults (~0.0145 oz per lb and ~0.013 oz per lb). A balanced diet usually contains about 25% of your calories in the form of proteins. However, each person is different - with a specific health condition and fitness goals and your diet should be decided on accordingly, taking all factors into consideration. If you are an athlete or looking to build muscle mass - check the section below this one.
Muscle growth by increased protein intake?
So, you are want to increase your muscle mass, but already know that eating high-protein foods won't help, since dietary protein after deamination serves to recycles components of non-muscle molecules or is converted to stored fat. Consuming too much leads to increased risk for the liver and kidney due to excessive work.
What is important is that you need adequate caloric intake with reference to your exercise efforts. If you do not eat enough calories in general, during intense training even augmented protein intake may not be sufficient to maintain proper balance of nitrogen as a disproportionate percentage of dietary protein will be catabolized to account for the energy deficiency. What will happen if you do not consume enough calories is that you will end up burning your proteins before they can participate in muscle growth.
Many athletes and weight-lifters eat or drink predigested protein: shakes, powders, pills or bars. However, this may be counter-productive to their goal of gaining muscle. There is no evidence supporting the notion that simple amino acids (such as the ones contained in those products) are absorbed more easily or facilitate muscle growth. In fact, the small intestine absorbs amino acids more rapidly if they are in the form of complex molecules, not simple ones. Consuming simple amino acids may result in drawing water in the lower intestine, leading to cramping and diarrhea in susceptible people. Furthermore, consuming animal sources of protein does not improve muscle strength or size any better than protein intake from plant sources.
In general, the recommended protein intake for intensive training in weight-lifters, endurance and resistance athletes is 1.2 - 1.8 grams per kg. In most cases, this corresponds to the general increased food intake and is enough to maintain adequate protein levels. This means that protein supplements are unnecessary in most cases. This may not be the case if for some reason you are training hard, but are limiting your calories to maintain weight (as in competitive boxing, wrestling, etc.). A high-carbohydrate diet helps preserve muscle protein during hard training or endurance training.
As always, before making significant changes to your diet based on this protein requirement calculator, consult a medical professional who is familiar with your condition.
Protein percentages in common diets
Here are some common diets and their protein contents for your reference.
When considering your diet plan, check our protein requirement calculator to make sure the amount recommended by your diet does not fall below the lower boundary. Especially if it does, make sure to consult your physician if making significant changes (but it is a good idea in general).
 Katch V.L., McArdle W.D., Katch F.I (2011) "Essentials of Exercise Physiology", fourth edition
Cite this calculator & page
If you'd like to cite this online calculator resource and information as provided on the page, you can use the following citation:
Georgiev G.Z., "Protein Requirement Calculator", [online] Available at: https://www.gigacalculator.com/calculators/protein-requirement-calculator.php URL [Accessed Date: 21 Jan, 2019].